JQI Rises Slightly Amid Disappointing Monthly Job Growth

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today announced that the U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) rose marginally to 81.17 in December, up 0.08% from the previous month, reflecting slightly faster growth in high-wage jobs than low-wage in the month. The small rise of the JQI was driven mainly by growth in jobs in nondurable goods manufacturing, nonresidential building construction, and computer system design. There were small increases in job totals in many categories, high-wage and low-wage. Reflecting the disappointing job growth figures over the last three months, employment increases in large low-wage categories such as restaurants were modest in the latest month. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the U.S. added 199,000 workers to payrolls in December. The job growth total is disappointing even when upward revisions in earlier months are included. Total nonfarm employment is now 3.6 million people (2.3%) below the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. The manufacturing workforce grew by 26,000 jobs but is still 219,000 below pre-pandemic levels. 

“The weak Job Quality Index, the disappointing job growth figures show that millions of U.S. adults are choosing to stay home rather than work,” said CPA chief economist Jeff Ferry. “Reshoring U.S. industry now could create millions of high-paying jobs and send the message to those Americans that the government is determined to change the composition of work and industry to make it worthwhile once again to go to work.”

The Job Quality Index measures job quality for U.S. production and non-supervisory workers by comparing workers’ weekly wages to the mean weekly wage for all non-supervisory workers. Those jobs above the mean are classified as high-quality and those below the mean are low-quality.

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